The energy diet: a week to combat autumn melancholy

The energy diet: a week to combat autumn melancholy

Discover all the ideal foods and menus to regain new vitality and avoid accumulating body weight

It is autumn: with the transition from summer time to solar time and the reduction of daylight hours during the day, our body changes. The metabolism, which in this period of the year can slow down, and the eating behavior, which sees an increased craving for sweets and carbohydrates, change. Why is all this happening? The answer must be sought in the brain, and in particular, in the hypothalamus, that brain region that modulates eating behavior and adapts the whole organism to changing climatic and environmental conditions. The reduction in the duration and intensity of sunlight causes an increase in melatonin secretion, responsible for the attraction to sweets and carbohydrates and the so-called "autumn melancholy", that is the slight lack of energy typical of the gray days of the colder season .

What to bring to the table?

The energy diet must provide a correct daily dose of carbohydrates: this is the metabolic key to face autumn (and then also winter) without accumulating body weight. "As long as you choose whole grains: they provide more fiber, increase the feeling of satiety and are richer in vitamins and minerals than refined ones", explains Dr. Carmen Loreto, dietician in Rome. Eating an excess of sweets and carbohydrates under the pressure of melatonin can in fact prove to be a serious nutritional error: it strains the liver and increases cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. In addition to providing high levels of blood sugar, and with it the consequent pancreatic secretion of insulin, responsible for the accumulation of body weight and a great and continuous hunger. A sort of vicious circle, therefore, which can be stopped by choosing the right nutrients.

“Consuming blue fish and nuts regularly is a good health choice,” suggests Dr. Loreto. They are rich in omega 3, essential fatty acids that act on serotonin, behaving like a true natural antidepressant that regulates mood swings. "Preferring vegetables, legumes and seasonal fruits are other healthy tips to regain energy and face this period with more vitality. As we have often reiterated, seasonal products bring various benefits as well as being cheaper, with superior organoleptic quality and nutritional composition. They are ecological, as they respect the natural cycle. The WHO also recommends consuming at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily, due to their fiber and vitamin content (especially A and C). In this way, a high intake of antioxidants is maintained ", explains the expert.

How much and which fruit to choose

"The ideal dose – recommends the dietician – is 3 portions a day, which can be consumed as they are (whole fruit) or in the form of juice or centrifuged or, alternatively, as a smoothie with the addition of skim milk. The fruit of autumn will help us to fill up on vital antioxidants and, above all, to cope with the typical ailments of this season. Eating fruit – especially for snacks – also allows you to take full advantage and make the most of all the properties without affecting digestion ”. There are kiwis, apples, oranges, mandarins, persimmons … Bananas are also good. Valuable sources of potassium and magnesium, they also contain chromium, a substance that helps regulate the production of serotonin.

The virtues of nuts

Every day, next to fruit, it is advisable to consume a small portion of nuts. Almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts are rich in unsaturated fatty acids, in particular omega 3, fiber, folic acid, minerals and bioactive molecules (tocopherols, phytosterols and phenolic compounds). Good for cardiovascular health, they are also an excellent snack to break hunger and to recharge with energy when you feel a little tired. They are in fact rich in important minerals, including magnesium, which increases the production of antibodies and has a positive effect on mood. Not surprisingly, those suffering from magnesium deficiency may experience a reduction in tone, energy and vitality. Its actions also affect the bones, as it promotes the fixation of calcium in the bone tissue. A mineral with a thousand virtues, therefore, useful in all periods of the year and especially in autumn.

The extra advice? When possible, take advantage of the beneficial effects of the sun's rays by trying to spend more time outside, preferably in contact with nature. Numerous studies have shown that it is precisely 'light therapy' that helps regain energy by counteracting seasonal 'depression'. When you are outdoors, the production of vitamin D is activated, which activates the release of serotonin, strengthens the absorption of calcium, fights inflammation and strengthens the immune system. It takes 10 minutes away from home to improve levels.

And remember to take the right amount of water daily. “It is very important to drink a lot of it (about 1.5 / 2 liters a day) – concludes Dr. Loreto – because dehydration can cause fatigue and loss of energy.

The menus of the week


BREAKFAST: 1 smoothie made with skimmed milk and red fruits; 2 wholemeal rusks

MORNING SNACK: 1 kiwi; 30 g of almonds or walnuts or hazelnuts

LUNCH: Spelled with pumpkin and peas; 1 portion of fresh spreadable cheese; extra virgin olive oil


DINNER: Baked sea bream; steamed broccoli or brussels sprouts; 3 wholemeal rusks; extra virgin olive oil


BREAKFAST: 1 skimmed yogurt; Whole grains

MORNING SNACK: 1 apple; 1 piece of parmesan or parmesan

LUNCH: Drained tuna; salad of lettuce, rocket and radicchio with 1 tablespoon of corn and black olives; 1 slice of wholemeal bread; extra virgin olive oil; 1 apple

AFTERNOON SNACK: 3 slices of pineapple; 30 g of almonds or walnuts

DINNER: Cabbage and chicken rolls, green salad; whole grain bread; extra virgin olive oil


BREAKFAST: Smoothie with skimmed milk and 1 apple; 2 wholemeal rusks

MORNING SNACK: Pineapple; 30 g of almonds or walnuts

LUNCH: Pearl barley with zucchini, cherry tomatoes and diced feta; sautéed cauliflower or pan-fried fennel; extra virgin olive oil

AFTERNOON SNACK: 1 orange or grapefruit juice; 40 g of parmesan or parmesan

DINNER: Rabbit morsels with potatoes and black olives; extra virgin olive oil


BREAKFAST: 1 skimmed yogurt; 2 rusks; 1 kiwi

MORNING SNACK: 1 grapefruit; 30 g of almonds or walnuts

LUNCH: Wholemeal penne with smoked salmon; rocket and lettuce salad; extra virgin olive oil

AFTERNOON SNACK: 1 kiwi; 30 g of hazelnuts or almonds

DINNER: Sliced ​​turkey; pinzimonio of celery and fennel; whole grain bread; extra virgin olive oil


BREAKFAST: 1 skimmed yogurt; 2 rusks; 1 orange juice

MORNING SNACK: 1 pear; 30 g of almonds or walnuts or hazelnuts

LUNCH: Savoy cabbage bundles with ricotta; whole grain bread; extra virgin olive oil

AFTERNOON SNACK: 1 low-fat yogurt with oat cereals; 1 pear

DINNER: 2 eggs in omelette; baked pumpkin au gratin or sautéed mushrooms; whole grain bread; extra virgin olive oil


BREAKFAST: Smoothie with skim milk and banana; 6 dry biscuits not filled

MORNING SNACK: 1 low-fat yogurt; 30 g of almonds or walnuts

LUNCH: Veal strips with Belgian salad, radicchio and 30 g of almonds; whole grain bread; extra virgin olive oil

AFTERNOON SNACK: 1 green apple; 2 rusks

DINNER: Tuna fillet with pink pepper; fennel and orange salad; whole grain bread; extra virgin olive oil


BREAKFAST: 1 cappuccino; 1 simple brioche; 1 orange juice

MORNING SNACK: 1 persimmon; 1 low-fat yogurt

LUNCH: Free lunch


DINNER: Sea bass with cherry tomatoes and pitted black olives; whole grain bread; extra virgin olive oil

Category: Welfare
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